Elk, 36" x 24" Oil on Canvas
This painting was inspired by a trip I took in September to photograph a herd of elk in the Cherokee National Forest of western North Carolina. This bull had worked over his harem of cows for over an hour in the cool pre-dawn light. As the sun rose and temps began to rise, the herd began to filter out of the meadow and up the mountain to bed in the cool shadows. This bull was the last to enter the woods and, just as he was about to disappear into the timber, a distant bugle erupted from a few hundred yards away. He immediately turned around to face the challenger, stepped back out perfectly into the light, and bugled to declare his dominance over the valley. I snapped some quick reference photos and then added the cows to complete the scene back in my studio.